Standard Operating Procedures
Black Squadron*The smallest operational unit sent out on missions is a single element of starfighters. An element is a pair of X-wings.
*One or two elements are usually on patrol in the Tierfon system. These craft look to provide early warning of potential Imperial attack, with a goal to simply provide a bit of extra time for evacuation procedures to get underway.
*In addition to the patrol craft, the Tierfon system has a number of sensor positions and probe droids scattered throughout space, forming an early warning network.
*The eight X-wings at Tierfon are split into two flights of four starfighters each: Aurek Flight and Besh Flight. Typically one of the flights is on active duty (preparing for, executing, or recovering from a combat mission) while the other is assigned to local Tierfon system patrol.
*The squadron typically ranges quite a distance from the Tierfon system when they go on formal missions, for security reasons. Most sorties begin with a hyperspace jump of an hour or two, followed by a few frantic minutes of combat flying, then a masked jump home. In a masked jump, the starfighters leave the scene of fight along a pre-defined, dummy hyperspace route. This first jump is very short, meant only to foil any Imperial attempts to back-track the vessels to their home base. Once all craft have gathered together again some a safe distance from the combat scene they enter the coordinates for the Tierfon system and make the longer jump home.
*When heavy ship-to-ship combat is likely, the squadron sometimes uses a light freighter to collect unlucky pilots who had to eject from their starfighters. Affectionately called the Clean Up Crew, this freighter arrives a couple of minutes after the fighting begins, swoops in to gather spaced pilots, then jumps out with the other combat ships. Or so it goes in theory.
*In an effort to keep the Empire guessing as to the true nature of the Sumitra Sector Rebel operations, paint schemes and other markings are frequently changed on the squadron's X-wings. The ground crews are very cognizant of the fact that any vessels lost in combat could eventually be turned over to the Imperial Security Bureau and treated, essentially, like crime scene evidence. More than a few pilots and ground crew members have scrawled obscene messages on interior surfaces and component parts, typically hidden behind access panels, just in case Imperial eyes ever get a chance to read them.
*Along these same lines, astromech droids used in the X-wings are given post-mission memory wipes.
*Another security precaution used involves the varying of mission start times, to foil analysis that might otherwise guess at the day/night cycle of the hidden Rebel base's world. This has led to the quarters for Black Squadron pilots being segregated from the rest of the personnel, so they can better control outside light and noise. It is common for the pilots on base to be asleep during the local Tierfon day. It is also common for flight operations in the main hangar to take place at all hours, ensuring the outpost is a continuous hive of activity.
*Much like the Black Squadron X-wings, the Rebels at Tierfon are very particular about any vessel that leaves from the base. Each ship is scrubbed of identifying marks and has its transponder signals changed routinely. Registries, paper work, modifications and cargo are all scrutinized so as to raise no red flags during space port safety inspections or customs scans.
*Speaking of cargo, the light freighter usually hauls some form of Cover Cargo, tied to both the ship's manifest and the cover story used by the crew. Empty light freighters arriving planetside tend to raise eyebrows. Empty freighters with a larger than needed crew complement are downright suspicious.